Shadows (Babylon 5)
The Shadows are an species that feature in Babylon 5.
Among the First Ones, they were among two of the older races left behind to shepherd the development of the younger races with the other being the Vorlons. (Episode: Z'ha'dum)
They were possibly the second species in the galaxy to achieve sentience after Lorien's species did. For billions of years, this species travelled through space and became the personification of chaos. Their philosophical rivals were the Vorlons who represented order. For centuries the two abided by rules of engagement, respected the other's position. But eventually both decided that their way was the right way, the only way. One million years ago, the species was defeated by the Vorlons.
A thousand years ago (roughly Earth year 1260), this species returned and engaged in a great war against the Minbari. It was during this war that they were given the name the Shadows. The Shadows began spreading chaos again and would have won had Valen not appeared and united the Minbari and defeated the Shadows, driving them away from their homeworld Z'ha'dum. The Shadows planted their ships in various corners of the galaxy and went into hibernation.
By 2248, the allies of the Shadows prepared Z'ha'dum for the return of the Shadows, and shortly after the Shadows themselves awoke and began to gather their forces slowly to prepare for the next war. When the Icarus landed on Z'ha'dum in 2255, the crew was captured by the Shadows and used as central processors for their ships, and Morden became their emissary and embraced their cause.
In the year 2258, the Shadows sent Morden to Babylon 5 where they allied with Londo Mollari and through 2259 helped the Centauri again subjugate the Narn. They also infiltrated the Psi Corps to make sure that Telepaths were not used against them, and helped Morgan William Clark assume power.
2260 was the year the Shadow War began. The Shadows forged treaties with many races in the League of Non-Aligned Worlds encouraging them to go to war against each other, each thinking they had the Shadows as an ally and that they needed to strengthen themselves to battle the Centauri. But once it became clear who the weak ones truly were, the Shadows revealed themselves openly and began attacking them.
As in the previous wars, the Shadows determined that Sheridan was a figure that could unite the young races against them and decided that he needed to either join them or be neutralised. After learning that his wife Anna Sheridan was among the crew of the Icarus, they removed her from a Shadow vessel and attempts were made to restore her former personality. She was then sent to bring John Sheridan to Z'ha'dum in an attempt to make him join their cause. Whilst he left Babylon 5, they send Shadow vessels to attack and destroy the station in case he refused their offer. Upon arriving on the planet, they took a shuttle to the surface where he met the Shadow's human representatives who revealed their purpose in guiding in the younger races in opposition to the Vorlons. Thus, they explained that they only sought to help the younger races evolve and that the key to that was through conflict, "the weak races die, the strong get stronger". Their attempts at convert Sheridan to their cause failed and he revealed that he was aware of the Shadows tampering with his wife Anna Sheridan with the woman he loved being gone forever. They then attempted to forcibly neutralise him leading to his escape deeper into the planet with the Shadows pursuing him. Sheridan then decided to sacrifice himself by critically damaging their capital by crashing the White Star armed with two fusion bombs which exploded on impact. The damage dealt to the Shadows resulted in them pulling back their forces and abandoning their planned attack on Babylon 5. (Episode: Z'ha'dum)
Damaged by this attack, the Shadows quickly began planting their ships on various worlds to recover using others such as the Centauri as shields. Sheridan's actions also opened a door, as the Vorlons began destroying all worlds where the Shadows had influence. But the Shadows retaliated by releasing their Death Clouds and destroying worlds where the Vorlons held influence.
Returning to Babylon 5 from the dead, Sheridan had allied with Lorien and united all the races to face down both the Shadows and the Vorlons. Setting a trap for them both as Coriana 6. The Shadows took the bait just as the Vorlons did, and all the younger races made it clear that they would not be pawns for them or any First Ones. The time of the First Ones was over, and after being told to _"get the hell our of our galaxy"_ Lorien convinced them to go as well, that their time was over. The Shadows along with the rest of the remaining First Ones left the galaxy, going beyond the Rim, The, never to return.
Though they are now gone, the Shadows left a legacy with much of their advanced technology falling into the hands of younger races. Chief among these were their old servants the Drakh, who vowed vengeance against the Centauri for betraying the Shadows and the newly formed Interstellar Alliance which rose from the outcome of the Shadow War.
The name 'Shadows' was actually a term given to them by the younger races with their actual name being over ten thousand letters long and unproduceable by humans even if they attempted to do so. (Episode: Z'ha'dum)
The Shadows are an arachnid-like race. Like other First Ones, an individual Shadow has an extremely long life span. They have shown telepathic capabilities and can render themselves invisible to the naked eye. The Shadows' true name is still unknown. All that is known is that it is ten thousand letters long.
Philosophically, the Shadows believed that strength emerged through conflict with the weak weeded out and the survivors becoming stronger as a result. (Episode: Z'ha'dum)
It was said that living beings that were turned into a processor for a Shadow ship were forever altered. They were said to be not quite the same ever again even if removed form the vessel. (Episode: Z'ha'dum)
- According to JMS, the 'Soldier of Darkness' in the episode "The Long Dark", "The shadows have their servants, which are being recalled to their places of power. That was one of their lower-level types. Shadow servent. Soldier of darkness. Not a shadow, but a good, close friend of same.".
In other media
- Babylon 5: